PROJECT TOKYO is a biannual fashion trade show held in the heart of fashion districts in Tokyo. It is where the creativity meets business opportunity, attracting visitors from around the world. This year's March exhibit showcased the debut of many new exciting brands from all around Japan, and aoiShip was there to capture the scene. Here are our top picks for 2019:
KIIRO is modern-style kimono brand from Tokyo. This is their first year as a brand, but the parent company has been making traditional kimonos for 90 years. As the popularity of wearing kimonos in daily life have been declining, KIIRO hired fashion designer Ayako Nagahashi to modernize and re-invent the style.
Traditionally, kimono wear requires technical expertise to put on. KIIRO however creates their clothes so that they are easy to wear and style. You can also arrange how the clothes are paired with accessories. I especially appreciate their philosophy designing for women to feel naturally as themselves, and not for the goal to make women appear "cute" or "beautiful".
KOSOEN STUDIO is based in the far outskirts of Tokyo prefecture, near the mountains of Okutama by the Tama River. Established in 1989 originally as an indigo dyeing studio for customers to dye their own cotton materials and apparel fabrics, KOSOEN has set out to create their own brand of apparel just this year.
What is truly special is the dyeing process. The method has been used since the Edo period (1603-1868) using sake as a fermentation agent for indigo leaves, lye, wheat, and ash. As all the ingredients is 100% organic, the clothing creates a naturally anti-bacterial and UV-protective effect. Whatever is left over is used as fertilizer for plants. The entire process is handmade, and is an inspiring example of ethical and sustainable fashion. We love KOSOEN!
+TSUBASA is a new sneaker brand from Tokyo. This is their launch year. There are two types of kicks with stylish colors and sole detail. One is called ”MERO-MERO" which translates roughly to "enchantment", and the other is "KYUN-KYUN", to mean the act of one's heart skipping a beat. The material of these pairs are sourced from Italy and the shoes are made in Portugal. The katakana letters on the side of the shoe labeled「ツバサ」(read as "tsu-ba-sa") translates to "wings" in English.
The futuristic design of their sneakers remind me some Japanese subcultures a little bit. I recommend these cool kicks to pair up with any outfit casual street wear in the city.
T.S.Brand is a shoelace maker hailing from Fuji City, Shizuoka, near Mount Fuji. The factory was founded in 1956 originally as a car-part manufacturer for the region. As Japan's economy and population staled over the last decade, T.S.Brand decided to switch gears and convert their factories for producing shoelaces in hopes of revitalizing Fuji's local economy, and creating something new.
They are not just any shoelace. Every inch of lace is waxed, layered over 1,000 times, with the final iteration count tallied and printed on golden caps on the tips. The water used for the wax is natural spring water sourced directly from Mount Fuji. What you get is a high-qualify product which can transform any shoe into something truly special and outstanding.
There are so many color options to choose. I recommend going outlandish and buying two sets of different colors, dressing each shoe in opposite colors.
OCTOBER & MARCH
OCTOBER & MARCH is a women's hand-knit apparel brand based in Tokyo. The products from this brand are all hand-crocheted one-by-one. Although they are each hand-made, they have the quality consistency of a production brand. This year debuted several kinds of shoes in their first collection. There are varying kinds of textures and designs. I especially liked the pointed-toe mules, exuding splendid sophistication for the wearer. The shoes blend the elements of elegant and casual perfectly to be paired in jeans style and dressy style quite effortlessly.
We wish we had the time to review all 25 brands coming from Japan! Please also checkout these other amazing brands:
- TOMOE (Men's Bag Brand with a super interesting story)
- Field of Pine (Fashion by towel)
- Think Fur (Faux-fur ethical fashion brand)
- AZOE (Streetwear by CD Andy Zheng)